Ten Good Reasons to Sew
Not that we need any good reasons, but in case you find yourself having to explain your addiction to others or if you are trying to convince someone to give it a go…here are ten good reasons. (apologies to the author…I copied this from somewhere long ago and now can’t remember where to give credit – just so you know that, although I certainly have said and feel similar, I’m not trying to take credit for summing it up so well.)
There is something completely absorbing about sewing – it demands all your attention, taking your mind off your everyday troubles and into a more meditative realm. Even basic tasks like hemming or sewing on buttons have their own rhythm, and as you become totally engrossed, the mind is free to wander and dream.
It feeds our magpie instinct
Hands up whose fabric stash is overflowing. One of the best things about any textile craft is choosing your fabric – and when it comes to sewing, there are so many tempting options, from expensive-but-so-worth-it Liberty florals to retro bargains you chance upon at a market. Planning what colours and textures will go together and work with your pattern is something to linger on and enjoy before the hard work of actually making up begins.
It’s so satisfying to start with some fabric and thread and gradually watch these parts become a greater whole, or to watch an embroidery or cross-stitch pattern emerge. The possibilities of what you do with your fabric are endless, and the process of transforming them into whatever you like – whether it’s a dress, curtains or a patchwork bedspread – and adding all your own ideas and touches with trimmings and special stitches – couldn’t be more rewarding.
Sewing has got to be one of the most useful arts and crafts – if you can use a sewing machine, you can make clothes for all the family, and every soft furnishing you need for the home, saving a fortune in shops. In making things yourself, you avoid endless shopping for a high street identikit look, and instead surround yourself with exquisite and unique things – furnishings perfectly matched to your own taste; clothes which fit like a dream.
It teaches patience
Every sewer knows that cutting corners always backfires! Impatience and sewing simply do not work together: sewing demands that we slow down, pay attention and take care. It’s a valuable skill to learn which stands us in good stead in other aspects of life.
It’s a time-honoured craft
For most of us, sewing reminds us of cosy afternoons with Mum, Grandma, or another woman from a previous generation who first taught us how to chain stitch or use a sewing machine. In an age when schools no longer teach much sewing, it’s such an honour and a pleasure to keep the skills of past generations alive, and pass them down to our children.
Our gifts are second to none
Whether it’s a hand-sewn sampler for a newborn baby or a teddy bear you’ve stitched together; a cushion cover for your auntie or a wedding dress for your best friend, a sewer can give presents which are imbued with the love they have put into making them – and that makes them far more valuable than anything you can buy ready-made in a shop.
There’s always more to learn
Once hooked on sewing, you’ll never grow bored of it. Sewing machines get ever more advanced and it’s fun to experiment with the huge range of fancy decorative stitches and finishes they now offer. Plus sewing is such a broad craft that there is always something new to pick up, whether it’s couture tailoring, quilting or appliqué.
It’s about domesticity, not drudgery
Thankfully, today, being a domestic goddess – including sewing – is no longer a thankless chore women have to get on with – it’s something we do because we want to, and so we get a huge amount of pleasure from it. Our sewing is something we can pick up and put down whenever we like, and we choose what we want to work on, so there’s no pressure and we can work at our own rhythm.
It requires brainpower
As much as sewing relaxes us, it also keeps the brain sharp because it demands such precision and concentration – when sewing patchwork or clothes for instance, the measurements must be just so; designing your own patterns takes some serious maths; and in general, if you don’t pay complete attention while sewing, you end up with a disaster. The way sewing keeps the brain active has got to be a good thing: one study has found that people who work on arts and crafts, including sewing, in middle age are 40% less likely to develop dementia.